Heart diseases and stroke kills 17 million people each year, which is more than 1/3 of all deaths globally and by 2020, heart disease and stroke will become the leading cause of both death and disability in the world according to World Health Organization. A simple change in our daily life can actually cut heart disease by 92% according to a Swedish study using over 24,000 women. Incorporating just the first two into our daily routine will cut the risks with more than half. Everyone must try one tip a day and then continue with as many as possible.
Day 1; Drink Green Tea
Green tea contains several powerful antioxidants that reduces cholesterol and lowers blood pressure. The tea can be prepared hot or you can put it in the refrigerator. When it is cool, pour the tea in one container and add ice if you like. This way you can take a sip the whole day. Remember to use as organic and decaffeinated as possible for best result.
Day 2; Scan food labels for unhealthy fat
Those who takes the time and reads the food labels for nutrition facts, slashes twice as many calories of fat from those who don’t read. When it comes to the importance of the hearth, this is very important. We should not let the fat exceed 30% of our calories and most important is to use healthy fat like olive oil, eat dark chocolate, nuts, avocado and polyunsaturated like from salmon, flaxseed and walnuts. Trans fats are most used in cookies, crackers, baked pastry and other processed foods and this fat raises fat levels of the artery clogging LDL cholesterol.
Day 3; Use Turkish kitchen as an example
Use MUFA-rich olive oil in your food as much as possible. The heart-healthy fat lowers “bad” LDL cholesterol and raises “good” HDL cholesterol. Olive oil is also rich in antioxidants which help to reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases like Alzheimer. Use olive oil as a substitute for butter and margarine at the dinner table and use it in salads as well as in baking. Only cold pressed and extra pressed virgin oil retains more of the heart-healthy antioxidants than other forms.
Day 4: Carve out time for sleep
For every extra hour a middle aged adult adds in their nightly average, reduces their risk of coronary and artery calcification that is a cause of heart disease by 33% according to a study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association. If you become deprived from sleep, your body releases stress hormones that constrict arteries and causes inflammation. If waking up feeling tired becomes your routine, or you need an afternoon nap, then your sleep is most highly deprived. Adults needs at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night to function well.
Day 5: Fiber up your diet
Studies have shown that the more fiber you eat, the less likely you are to have a heart attack. Eat much of whole grain breads and cereals that contain whole wheat, wheat bran and oats. Another thing you can do is to toss beans into casseroles, soups and salads. The body should receive at least 25 to 35 g of fiber every day.
Day 6: Feast on Fish
Meat’s saturated fat will clog your arteries. On the other hand, fish such as salmon and anchovies are loaded with the omega-3 fatty acids that will help your heart maintain a steady rhythm. Having even one serving of fish high in omega-3s a week could reduce your risk of death from a heart attack by 52%!
Day 7: Start your morning with juice
Orange juice contains folic acid that helps lower your levels of homocysteine, an amino acid linked to a higher heart attack risk. Grape juice is loaded with flavonoids and resveratrol, both potent antioxidants that may discourage red blood cells from clumping together and forming an artery-blocking clot. Choose 100% fruit juices to limit excess sugar or press your own fresh juice.
Day 8: Make room for vegetable
To get the 2½ cups that nutritionists recommended, eat vegetables in 50% of your meals. Extra good is to choose sprouts, broccoli, and cabbage, which are a gold mine of antioxidants and other heart-saving photochemical.
Day 9: Eat nuts as snacks
Studies have found that those who eat more than 5 ounces of nuts a week are one-third less likely to have either heart disease or a heart attack. But don’t overdo it because nuts are high in fat and calories, which can pack on pounds if you inhale them by the fistful.
Day 10: Walk for 20 minutes a day
Just 2.5 hours of exercise a week (that’s a little more than 20 minutes a day) could reduce heart attacks by one-third, prevent 285,000 deaths from heart disease in the United States alone, and practically eliminate type 2 diabetes.
Day 11: Change your bread spread
Olive oil is ideal for your bread, but if you must use a spread, pick one with cholesterol-lowering sterols. Adding 2 g of these plant compounds to your daily diet can help lower your total cholesterol by about 10% often within 2 weeks, according to numerous studies published in both American and European medical journals.
Day 12: Stir in Flaxseed
Flaxseed is one of the most potent sources of heart-healthy omega-3 fats and studies indicate that adding flaxseed to your diet can reduce the development of heart disease by 46%, while helping to keep red blood cells from clumping together and forming clots that can block arteries. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flaxseed a day on your yogurt, oatmeal, cereal, or salad. Buy it preground, and keep it refrigerated.
Day 13: Start or end your day with stretching
Flexibility is the key to heart health. Adults over the age of 40 who were the most limber had 30% less stiffness in the arteries than less-bendy participants in a recent Japanese study. Stretching for 10 to 15 minutes a day may keep arteries pliable and they may be affected by the elasticity of the muscles and tissue that surround them. Try some gentle yoga moves to improve your flexibility every day.
Day 16: Cook with Garlic
Just one clove a day—or 300 mg 3 times daily—reduces the risk of a heart attack at least three ways: It discourages red blood cells from sticking together and blocking your arteries, it reduces arterial damage, and it discourages cholesterol from lining those arteries and making them so narrow that blockages are likely.
Day 17: Spice up your workout
Every day, in addition to your regular workout, try something new just for fun—hitting a tennis ball against the house, shooting hoops with your kids, or dancing around your bedroom after work. If you find something that you like, incorporate it into your daily workout. Research shows that people who are active in little ways the entire day burn more calories and are generally healthier than those who exercise for 30 to 60 minutes and then sit at a computer, says cardiologist and Prevention advisor Arthur Agatston, MD.
Day 18: Stop faking it
One of the biggest causes of stress is trying to live in a way that’s not consistent with who you are. Ask yourself: Am I doing what I want to do? Am I getting my needs met? Every day, run a reality check on what you’ve done. When it says that your actions aren’t true to the kind of person you are, make sure you listen and spend time with people and on activities that make you feel happy and challenged in a healthy way, not drained or burned out.
Day 19: Meditate for 5 minutes
Practicing a form of meditation in which you focus awareness on the present moment can reduce the effects of daily stressors. Ride out a stress storm by simply closing your eyes and quietly focusing on your breathing for 5 to 10 minutes.
Day 20: Get in touch with your spiritual side
Studies indicate that those with regular spiritual practices, who meet with a faith community as attending mosque, church or temple, live longer and better and are far less likely to have a heart attack. You can still reap the benefits even if you can’t attend regularly by just getting involved socially, like volunteering at different projects.
Day 21: Stay connected
Strong ties to family, friends, and community reduce anxiety and helps fight depression, two factors that increase your risk of a heart attack. Make a lunch date with a friend, dedicate at least 1 night a week for a sit-down family dinner, or plan to visit your place of worship.
Day 22: Take Vitamin D and fish oil
While research on multivitamins for preventing heart disease is mixed, science does stand behind these two supplements. “The only dietary supplement consistently shown in randomized clinical trials to work against cardiac death is fish oil,” says Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, DrPH, an assistant professor medicine at Harvard Medical School. Omega-3 fatty acids stabilize the heart’s electrical system, lower blood pressure and triglycerides, slow arterial plaque buildup, and ease systemic inflammation. Fish oil was more successful than statins at preventing death in heart failure patients, according to a recent Italian study. “Vitamin D” boasts a wide range of health benefits, heart health among them. Recent studies show that too-little amounts can raise the risk of peripheral arterial disease by 80% and increase the odds of developing diabetes (a known heart disease risk factor).
Day 23: Do something sweet for your partner
There’s a lot of proof that marriage buffers you against heart disease, but that may be true only if you’re happily coupled, says Agatston. One study in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine found that spouses who reported a lot of negative encounters with their partner had blood pressure that was, on average, 5 points higher than that of single people. The emotional stress of a difficult marriage typically causes adrenaline levels in the blood to spike, raising blood pressure; it can also cause blood vessels to spasm. To make sure your marriage doesn’t go on autopilot, forge little ways to stay connected all the time. If you do something nice today (like paying an unexpected compliment or taking on a chore he normally handles) chances are he’ll reciprocate soon, which helps bolster your bond.
Day 24: Indulge with dark chocolate
Cap off your day with a nibble of this healthy treat. Dark varieties contain flavonoids, antioxidants that make blood vessels more elastic. In one study, 18% of patients who ate it every day saw blood pressure dip.
Day 25: Steer clear of secondhand smoke
Got friends or coworkers who smoke socially? Stay away when they light up and your heart will thank you for the effects on the cardiovascular system due to passive smoking are, on average, 80 to 90% as great as those due to active smoking, research shows. Even brief (minutes or hours) exposure to secondhand smoke can have cardiovascular effects nearly as great as long-term active smoking.
Day 26: Go bananas
To lower your blood pressure, don’t just eat less sodium but you should also increase your potassium intake, as it speeds up the body’s sodium excretion, say researchers at the Hypertension Institute of Nashville. Some popular potassium-rich foods to help fix this: baked potatoes, tomato paste, lima beans, yogurt, cantaloupe, and bananas.
Day 27: Cut back on sugar
People who consume more than 74 g of added fructose a day are 87% more likely to have severely elevated blood pressure than those who get less, according to a recent study. Researchers believe excess fructose may reduce the production of nitric oxide, a gas that helps blood vessels relax and dilate. To cut your intake, watch out for the worst offenders: drinks and baked goods. Example, eat oatmeal with raisins and cinnamon instead of an oatmeal raisin cookie.
Day 28: Laugh at yourself
When researchers from the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore tested the “humor quotient” of 300 people, they found that those with heart disease were 40% less likely to laugh at the gaffes, mix-ups, and irritations of everyday life than those without cardiovascular problems.”Laughter is no substitute for eating properly, exercising, and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels with medication if need be,” says study author Michael Miller, MD, director of the university’s Center for Preventive Cardiology. “But enjoying a few laughs every day couldn’t hurt, and our research suggests that it might help your heart health.”